Starting with electrical engineering. [en]

So I decided to start learning about electrical engineering, I was always already very interested in electrical engineering and I finaly decided to realy get into it. So I started buying things like breadboards and build up my own circuits, I made my first circuit with a voltage regulator:

breadboard voltage regulator circuit

breadboard voltage regulator circuit

Ofcourse this first breadboard circuit is very basic and probaly everyone on the planet can build this pretty fast. But to make it more clear whats going on the image above here I will show you a schematic.

5volt simple regulator

5volt simple regulator

Also please ignore the input voltage from the AC as 120 volts rms would probaly make most of the components I used catch fire.

A quick explenation:

As alternative current comes from the wall sockets of our home the voltage it carries changes 60 times or 50 times per second depending on the area you live in. For half of this time the voltage goes negative and the other half of the time its positive, creating a sine wave. By usings diodes we can stop the current from flowing backwards removing the negative part of the sine. If we would use only 1 diode this would mean that we would have only have of the sine remaining and the other half wouldn’t receive any current at all.

sine wave rectification,

sine wave rectification,

By using this combination of 4 diodes also known as an bridge rectifier. We can take the negative and positive part of an alternating current sine wave and make it only an positive sine wave , This sine wave will have double the frequency of our original sine wave since we now have combined the negative and positive part of the alternating current sine wave into one.

To make this signal keep a stable voltage we use part we call capacitors which store electrical current and release it when needed. So this circuit would then stay at an constant voltage of 120 volts, which would probaly blow up the diodes and capacitor aswell as our voltage regulator. This is very depended on the type of parts you use however so before you use any parts always check the datasheet.

Now we have our stable voltage signal however this voltage is to high for my purpose so I want to lower, To do this without much efford the best way is to use an voltage regulator. However a voltage regulator gets very hot cause each volt in difference with the regulated voltage will increase how much energy is lost in heat times 2. This means that if you draw 1 amp from the voltage regulator outputting 5 volts that if your input is 12 volts you will have 7 watts of heat. This may not sound like allot but it totaly is.

Now  a simple solution would be to mount a heatsink to the voltage regulator so it can dissapate the heat, A beter solution would be to lower the input voltage or use a switching regulator, but this is a subject for the future.

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